Monday, October 22, 2018

Lilac Time

Just a few snippets today as I have been sick this week and now have a lot of catching up to do.  I have also been testing my camera as it wasn’t working properly when we went to Tahune. This is such a beautiful time of the year. The scent of lilacs is in the air. It always reminds me of that wonderful summer in Siberia* where lilacs are used as street trees. Most of the other trees are are now clothed in lush green although there are still a few cherry blossoms about.

Mobile Healthcare for the Homeless

Free Hearing tests for Seniors Week

Free books and reading on the way to town

For weary bookworms
Post office does its bit for farmers too

There are some divine aquilegias about too

Hope you are all feeling perky and thank you very much for the lovely comments and feedback on the blog, which, as usual, I only seem to discover when I have enforced downtime. Nature’s way of making you stop and smell the roses – er lilacs.

* Cheers to all my friends there. I've just looked back at some of the blog pics. from that time and see they are small and squibby and that some have fallen off. I will try to update these at some stage, as they simply do not convey the beauty of the place.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Superb Lyrebird – or is it?

This is what a lyrebird looks and sounds like. If you prefer to see the same clip with lower picture quality, but in David Attenborough's well modulated tones, see the clip at the bottom.

I forgot to mention it yesterday, but just before we got to Tahune, a Superb Lyrebird crossed the road in front of us – a rare sight as they are normally very shy. The remarkable thing about the Lyrebird is its ability to mimic other sounds. I was telling Miss Ten that the last one I saw - also in this area, on my first walk to Adamson’s Falls, sounded like a chainsaw and she said, “Is that why they call them Liar birds?” You'll see why they call them Lyre birds when you have looked at one of the clips. For information about their habits, feeding and breeding click here

Lyrebirds are not native to Tasmania but were initially introduced from the mainland by Lady Franklin in the 1800’s. In the 1930’s and 40’s fearing mainland extinction due to habitat loss  and the presence of European predators such as foxes,  several more  were released near Hastings- just south of here,  and Mount Field.  Beautiful as they are, as with most introductions e.g. rabbits, cane toads and blackberries, there is a downside. 

At first  Lyrebirds seemed to have fitted in rather well, possibly occupying the niche which used to be occupied by the small Tasmanian emu which became extinct  soon after white settlement  (No, the settlers didn’t necessarily hunt them to death. It is now thought that the rats which came with them, may have eaten the eggs), but now the 22 birds which were introduced by1949 have grown to an estimated 8000 birds and have extended their range all over the state. Their habit of scratching up huge mounds for nests now threatens other species - tearing out seedlings, removing the insects and preventing regeneration.  It is in the leaf litter and moss that the seeds for our rare species germinate and once loosened, they are easily washed away.  This is why some of our beautiful wilderness waterfalls will be very slow to recover after recent floods.

Because of their history on the mainland, Lyrebirds are still protected, but the day may come when Tasmania may have to consider culling them. This is the problem when you live on a small rock which is in fact a floating Ark.  It is also why we have to be s -o -o -o -o careful with what can be brought in, so please don’t complain when we ask you to ditch you fruit and vegetables on entry. Every introduction, even a microscopic one, poses new risks.

Enjoy our lyrebirds while you can.

Here's David Attenborough’s English version of the above clip

Saturday, October 13, 2018

A fine day in the Huon Valley and some great news for Tasmanians

At this time of year it should be compulsory for everyone to visit the Huon Valley. The fields are still green, there’s a touch of snow on at least one of the mountains and all the apple blossom is out.
Now there’s another reason to visit for Tasmanians at least.  Tahune Forest Adventures is offering Tasmanian residents a free forest adventure pass for 18 months if they apply before December 31.  
Cantilevered section of the Airwalk  gives views over the tree tops, the mountains and both rivers, if you don't mind heights

Being the last official day of school holidays, we thought we should go before the operators changed their minds.  Soon the five of us – representing three generations, were heading off in the direction of the Airwalk. This is an engineering wonder which affords excellent views over the Huon River, the Picton River and the Hartz mountains. It also allows you to get up close and personal with rainforest species such as sassafras, myrtle, celery top and leatherwoods, as well as some tall stringy barks.  For those not familiar with temperate rainforest, it’s an excellent introduction, and even for those who are, it offers a whole new perspective.  And if, like one of the friends with whom I walked a few days ago, you prefer your wilderness a little less wild and with all amenities, then this place for you.   

Huon River - Cymbaline's Phone pic.

Spring growth puts pretty coppery tips on myrtles
The Native Laurel is  in flower

I think this could be a yellow flowering dogwood

As we stopped for apples beside the river, this magnificent square rigger sailed by
Tasmanian or not, you still have to pay for the accommodation and other activities such as Eagle Gliding or rafting, neither of which we attempted today, though we did enjoy the Swinging Bridges Walk which was a big hit the girls who seemed a teensy bit apprehensive on some parts of the treetop walk. 
Then, after having afternoon tea in Geeveston, were lucky enough to spot a platypus or two on the Platypus Walk along the Kermandie River. Bees buzzed in the blossom and daisies, bluebells and perwinkles flourished at the margins. Of course, no visit to the Huon would be complete without buying at least one bag of apples from the many honesty boxes on  the way home. Just as we stopped  to do so, a squared rigged wooden boat sailed by - just as it would have in days gone by -a fitting  finish to a lovely day.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Spring at last!

Had a pleasant walk to Pelverata Falls yesterday. It’s only about an hour and a half  south  of Hobart and the winding road to it passes through some through some lovely country – green, undulating  and with lots of daffodils everywhere.

The path gets rockier and steeper towards the end

The walk itself was interesting – gently rising and falling through diverse bushland with a bit of a rough rocky climb at the end.  Along the way there were bowers of climbing guinea flowers in bloom and some cute greenhood orchids which, with their outstretched antennae, always remind me of young aliens. There were also some unusual wild flowers I hadn’t seen before and some lovely views over farmland and mountains.

Bowers of climbing guinea flowers


The waterfall itself, all 114 m of it,  was not running as strongly as it would have been a couple of weeks ago with all that rain, but beautiful nonetheless, and the gorge in which into which it tumbles was stunning in its own right. If I had a painting of it, I would have said that’s not how you paint cliffs. They look they look as if they’ve been painted by an amateur  - too uniform, the way the colour has been applied in too even brush strokes and so on, yet  they really do look like that.  The waterfall on the other hand, looks much better than I have been able to show it here.

Pelverata Falls at 114m looks much more dramatic in real life

There were some other pretty wild flowers about, many of which I haven't been able to identify as yet

Another one

 All up the walk takes around three hours and is fairly easy going, proof being the two or three young children who negotiated it with no shoes. The potential for treading on a snake would deter me from doing that, though we didn’t see any. 

Lovely views

Had a little bonus at the end. On the way down we had spotted a sign advertising lemon slices, eggs, vegetables and such.  Most things were already gone, but we did score lemon slices to have with our thermos of coffee, also some daffodils, although some of them looked a bit sad. A friendly man walking by invited us to come to his place and take as many daffodils as we wanted.  I tried not to be too greedy, but he rushed in and picked me some more so I now have daffodils everywhere and enough for the neighbours too. It really does feel like spring.

..... and daffodils.